Spring 2018 AILA International Fellowship

Kofi Akyea joined MoneyGram International in 2010 and is currently senior marketing manager for Anglophone West Africa (5 countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia Sierra Leone and Gambia with 64 agents and over 6200 agent locations.) In this role, Akyea focuses on: brand management, budget control, deploying integrated marketing communications, new product development support, market research, PR/CSR management and client coverage for the MoneyGram business in the region. Since he joined, the region has grown its revenue from $30m to $60m, making MoneyGram the leading remittance company in the region. Prior to joining MoneyGram, Akyea was marketing manager at Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, and a key account manager at Origin8 Saatchi & Saatchi. Akyea has a deep interest in commercial management practice and its application as a reform element/force multiplier in the African public sector. He is also interested in exploring the nexus between trade/international business practices, state foreign/trade policy issues, and diplomacy in West Africa. To this end Akyea is an integral part of an effort to establish an institute of international affairs in Ghana. This organization – the Ghanaian Institute of International Affairs, is expected to be launched in the second half of 2018. Akyea has a B.A. in sociology and business administration, as well as an M.Phil. in marketing from the University of Ghana. In addition, he has read for an M.A. in global diplomacy at SOAS-University of London. Kofi shuttles between Lagos and Accra, where his wife, Sheila is a practicing civil engineer with the African Development Bank.
Khalid Al-Jufairi is the chief strategist of the Institute of Arab & Islamic Art based in New York City, and member of its Board of Directors. He has about eight years of international professional experience, and previously worked for Exxon Mobil Corporation as global political adviser based in Washington DC. Al-Jufairi also managed a consulting project with Lyxor Asset Management based in Paris, and is a corporate strategist at Ooredoo, a leading telecommunications company based in Qatar. Al-Jufairi is a Ph.D. candidate in international relations at the University of Paris-Sud (Faculté Jean Monnet) and the American Graduate School in Paris. He specializes in foreign policy and national security, and his doctoral research explores why the rise of fear - and the ‘otherness’ - is endangering the values of liberal democracy and its institutions in complex post-industrial society. Al-Jufairi holds an M.A. in cross-cultural and sustainability management from the American University of Paris, and received his B.Sc. in international politics from Georgetown University in 2009. Al-Jufairi is also working on attaining his certification in policy strategy from The Brookings Institution and the University of Washington in St. Louis, focusing on the White House and U.S. Congress.
Daniel Bell is an active duty lieutenant commander in the U.S. Coast Guard, serving for the past 13 years. He is currently assigned as the Coast Guard liaison officer to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington, D.C. His previous operational tours include operations officer aboard USCGC BEAR, navigator aboard USS LEYTE GULF, and deck watch officer aboard USCGC HARRIET LANE. His previous staff assignment was as the assistant offshore patrol cutter sponsor’s representative in the Office of Cutter Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Bell has a B.Sc. in government from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, an M.A. in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, and an M.Sc. in strategic intelligence from the National Intelligence University. He is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in public budgeting and financial management from Pennsylvania State University and a professional certificate in legislative studies from the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown. Bell’s interests include traveling around the United States and abroad, staying abreast of world affairs, and trying his hand as an amateur forecaster of world events.
Amel Ben Younes is a 20-year career officer of the Tunisian Foreign Service, having joined as the youngest member in her class. She currently holds the rank of minister plenipotentiary and works closely with think tanks on public diplomacy. She has served throughout Europe and the United States and speaks Spanish as well as English, French, Italian, and Arabic. She holds a master’s degree in legal sciences and started postgraduate studies in international law for environment.
Robert Butler is a principal member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories serving as a project and technical leader in support of various software-based national security applications. Robert holds a B.B.A. in information systems from the University of New Mexico and a M.S. in computer science with a focus in software engineering. In over 15 years of experience, Butler has focused his career on process improvement, software architecture design, and high-reliability software product development. He is certified by the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute to lead software quality assessments and values pragmatic approaches to product development. Since 2015, Butler has served as president of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA,) Albuquerque chapter. ALPFA is an organization focused on developing leaders of character for the nation in every sector of the global economy. His chapter promotes the value of “leadership Through mentorship” and has pioneered a mentorship program pairing students with professionals in their desired fields. Butler is passionate about teaching and coaching today’s youth. Throughout the year, he enjoys teaching elementary and middle school kids about computer science and exploring unique ways to increase young people’s interest in STEM fields. Butler has one son and is a volunteer coach for his football, basketball, and soccer teams.
Marina Djernaes is working on climate change as an associate at New Advisory Group, an organization that she co-founded. Prior to this she was the director of EcoPeace’s program on water security in Washington DC after having been the executive operating officer of EcoPeace Middle East with responsibility for operational capacity development and strategic planning. She has more than twenty years of experience in sustainable international development and strategic management in the Middle East, United States, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe. Djernaes’ most recent publication is, “Evaluation of Environmental Peacemaking Interventions Strategies in Jordan-Israel-Palestine,” in the Journal of Peacebuilding & Development. She also co-authored a World Bank policy framework on climate change impact and adaptation strategies in the Arab world that included consideration of human development, sustainable livelihoods, capacity building, good governance, land and water use, biodiversity, and natural resource usage. Prior to this, Djernaes was a director at Greenpeace, a consultant at the World Bank, and the co-founder of New Advisory Group. She has a master’s degree in environmental science from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from American University. She is an alumna of Salzburg Global Seminar and Al Gore’s Climate Reality.
Benjamin Flosi is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, currently serving as an army strategist, and Joint Staff's global policy and partnerships deputy director responsible for advising the chairman and director on peace operations, international organizations, and humanitarian engagement. Other Pentagon assignments include serving as an international engagement strategist where he worked with NATO countries to develop policies and programs to increase military interoperability and in the War Plans division reviewing current and future planning ensuring the achieve U.S. foreign policy goals. Before this assignment, Flosi served in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as an advisor to the U.S. permanent representative and ambassadors on defense policy and military strategy and at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels where he was responsible for informing lawmakers from NATO member countries on strategic challenges and developing policy recommendations for NATO. Flosi’s operational experience includes the 2nd Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, and as a civil affairs officer in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. In this capacity, he served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Republic of Korea. Flosi graduated from Marquette University, holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, is completing a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University’s Carey School of Business, and was a foreign language and area studies scholar in Yemen and a Manfred Werner fellow in Germany and Belgium.
Kathryn Friedman is a research associate professor of law and planning at the University at Buffalo and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Canada Institute.) A multi-disciplinary scholar and legal practitioner with a focus on Canada-U.S. law and policy, Friedman is a recognized expert on the Canada-U.S. relationship in both Canada and the United States. Her research and teaching focus on binational regional economies, water law and policy (Great Lakes and New York State), NAFTA, labor mobility, and border security issues. Friedman communicates research results using various media outlets including radio, newspapers, peer-reviewed journals, and policy papers. She also presents findings publicly at conferences, workshops, and forums, and she briefs public officials at policy workshops held regionally and nationally. A former Fulbright Fellow, she serves as a member of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Can Am Business Council, a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, and board member of the Alliance for the Great Lakes (Chicago). Prior to her work in higher education, Friedman served as a confidential law clerk to the Hon. Richard C. Wesley and Hon. Eugene F. Pigott, and was an associate in the cross-border practice group at a large New York law firm.
Claire Gaulier has nearly 10 years’ experience in leading and developing community initiatives in Central America, West and sub-Saharan Africa, Asia/Pacific, and Europe. After graduating in France with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in urban planning, governance, and policy, Gaulier also volunteered with a range of NGOs in Europe and Central America. She fulfilled a desire to gain a better understanding of these societies, from working alongside rural community leaders in Honduras to supporting refugees and migrants between France and the United Kingdom. Gaulier seized opportunities to enable ‘invisible communities’ to have a voice on social issues such as loneliness, isolation, and their impact on mental and physical health, by enabling them to form established groups, raise funds and by contributing to blogs and national publications advocating and raising awareness. Gaulier recently worked on multiple projects focused on mental health and outreach through support to seafarers and their relatives. Gaulier undertook monitoring visits for building projects in Bangladesh and the Philippines and training of outreach staff in Madagascar. She also supported the Crisis Response Network in setting up their monitoring systems enabling the team to show more transparency on their activities when supporting seafarers who were victims of piracy or wrongly imprisoned. Gaulier is a native French speaker, fluent in English and Spanish and currently learning Arabic. Gaulier recently qualified as a PRINCE2 professional.
Kai Hertz has been working in the field of development finance over the past 20 years. Having lived and grown up in Caracas, Venezuela during the oil bonanza years of the seventies and early eighties, understanding the multifaceted issues of poverty has always captured his attention. Upon high school completion in Caracas, he studied political and administrative sciences in Konstanz University, Germany. During his studies he had the opportunity to obtain internships at UNCTAD, Geneva, and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. These experiences provided him with an insight to the actual development finance world and a web of international institutions that aim to put development theories into actionable and poverty focused programs. With the completion of his master’s degree in Konstanz, he pursued his first job at the World Bank, and since 1997 has been working for the Inter-American Development Bank as lead specialist in grants and co-financing. He received an award for the promotion of youth development in Latin America and the Caribbean from the IDB-Youth Program. Currently, he manages several donor trust funds and was elected to a director position in the Bank’s Staff Association. He enjoys multi-cultural environments and speaking several languages.
Maike Hoffmann joined the German Navy after finishing high school in 2006. Her first year consisted of basic, infantry and sailing training as well as an officer´s course. In 2011, she graduated from the Armed Forces´ College in Hamburg with an M.S. in economics. She has held several positions in the German military and was deployed twice. Her time serving on a frigate at sea, was certainly one of the most difficult, but also one of the most formative and impressive periods she has experienced during her professional life. She also had the great opportunity to attend military exercises in Zambia and Burkina Faso. Currently, she is working as an analyst in the military planning office. In June this year, she is going to leave the Armed Forces after twelve years of active duty. Last year she finished her dissertation about Israel´s foreign policy in Sub-Saharan Africa and thereby completed her academic education. Her core interests include Foreign policy, international relations, and security policy. She closely follows policy developments, especially in the German and American foreign policy approaches. She also pays close attention to Economic, political and social developments in sub-Saharan Africa. Personally, she enjoys hiking in the German Alps as well as surfing and outdoor activities in general.
Dalana Johnson is a public health expert with a strong passion for improving the health of the most underserved and impoverished populations. Dalana is most driven by work that offers meaning and purpose. Her professional journey includes twelve years of experience designing and implementing public health programs focused on preventing disease and infection among women, undocumented immigrant children, and migrant agricultural workers. She currently works in healthcare policy as a senior public health analyst for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources Services Administration. In this role, she drafts and revises U.S. healthcare policy intended to ensure access to healthcare for all, regardless of insurance or financial status. Previously, she worked as a project officer for the Community Health Center Program where she developed extensive knowledge and experience assisting health centers serving migrant workers and the homeless population. Dalana is drawn to opportunities that offer challenges that may contribute to her growth and development as a leader. She is eager to build on her leadership skills as she prepares for the next phase of her professional journey, a leadership position in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgia State University and her master’s degree in public health from Indiana University. She is originally from Indianapolis and lives in northern Virginia. Dalana loves international travel, high energy fitness, spending time with family, and watching sports.
Moh Kilani is an advisor at Galvanize Partners, a consultancy that develops strategic communications solutions for clients, including multinational corporations, and international organizations. He is currently a researcher with the ODNI-DHS Analytic Exchange Program, on the blockchain and cyber-resilience subcommittees. Kilani has a decade of experience in international business and foreign affairs with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. He is also a Security Fellow with the Truman National Security Project. Previously, Kilani managed an American export venture in North Africa. He served as a liaison between the Department of Defense and an American-Libyan interest. He also served as an analyst on leading technologies and developed public-private initiatives that promoted those technologies. He was also lead researcher for the data center initiative with the Washington State Department of Commerce. Kilani has also worked with Middle East and Hispanic communities in the Northwest United States as a civil rights advocate. In addition to his work in the Middle East and North Africa, Kilani has both published and presented papers on the Arctic and policy making with a focus on diplomatic initiatives undertaken by city government. He served previously as a fellow at the University of Washington’s Henry M. Jackson School’s International Policy Institute. Kilani holds a B.S. in biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.A. in applied international studies from the University of Washington. He is a native speaker of Arabic, with a smattering of Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.

Ilinca Kung Parslow was born in Bucharest, Romania under Ceausescu’s regime. Kung-Parslow determined at an early age that she would find a way to both escape this regime and to dedicate her life’s work to organizations whose aim was peace and justice. She succeeded in leaving Romania on her second attempt and spent the next few years traveling the world working with indigenous communities in East and South Asia, designing and producing artist-inspired museum shop items which are still sold around the world. These experiences with worker-artisans, and her recognition of their limitation in influencing their own civil societies, led her to the New School University in New York, where she graduated with a degree in transitional justice and human rights. She became interested in improving institutional capacity for international collaboration on women's and migrants’ rights. As a political affairs officer at the United Nations, she provided research and analytical support to the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee. At the U.N. and in her subsequent work teaching asylum-seekers, survivors of torture, and first-generation immigrant children, she became aware of the strong connection between climate change, civil unrest, uprisings, and refugees. Kung-Parslow enrolled in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs’ environmental science and policy M.P.A. program. She did consulting work for the Natural Resources Defense Council and managed research projects on global solutions in urban sustainability. Since 2017, Kung-Parslow has been advising members of the European Parliament on transatlantic relations in climate, energy, foreign affairs, cyber, and trade issues. She believes that through parliamentary diplomacy and joint-cooperation projects, inter-societal cultural and historical gaps can be bridged to produce strategic partnerships based on shared human common values. She is convinced that in a world where boundaries and borders are becoming both more blurred and more strongly defended, transnational solutions can be found. She is most interested in fostering dialogue between subnational entities and international institutions in climate mitigation.


Sara Kurovski broke the glass ceiling in 2013 when she was elected the youngest and first female mayor in the history of Pleasant Hill, Iowa. Sara gained national attention when the story of her path to mayor was included in Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean in for Graduates. In 2015, her impact in Central Iowa was recognized as she joined the 40 under 40 list and was named the “Emerging Women of Influence” by the Business Record. Her passion for community betterment is seen through her involvement on the Eastern Polk Regional Development Board, Bravo Greater Des Moines Board, Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Management Committee, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Board of Commissioners, Wastewater Reclamation Authority Management Committee, and Iowa Municipalities Worker’s Compensation Association Board. Sara is an advocate and supporter of 50-50 in 2020, an organization devoted to the importance of women involvement in politics. Sara holds a bachelor’s of science degree in communications from Truman State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. She has a supportive husband, Todd, and they have two loving boys who keep them on their toes.
Justin Nadolny​ is a lieutenant commander in the United States Coast Guard, currently serving as military aide to vice president Michael Pence. A career sea-going officer, he has extensive experience conducting counter-drug, immigration enforcement, search and rescue, and national security missions. Most recently, he served as second in command of a 270’ cutter homeported in Key West, Florida, patrolling the Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean to counter the illicit transport of drugs and migrants into the United States. He also deployed to Manama, Bahrain, in command of a 110’ patrol boat, where he led a crew of 22 men and women patrolling the Iraq-Iran border and training the Iraqi Navy to protect critical infrastructure. Lieutenant Commander Nadolny holds a B.S. in management from the United States Coast Guard Academy, an M.A. in national security and strategic studies from the United States Naval War College, and an M.P.A. from The George Washington University. He is married to Ginny, a fellow Coast Guard officer, and together they enjoy travel and all things outdoors.
Travis Nels is an energy industry professional who sits between the finance and strategy organizations at his firm, leading efforts to provide the analytical framework that support decision making for the most senior levels of firm leadership. With the energy sector experiencing seismic shifts, Nels believes that the private sector is leading the way in providing sustainable and abundant power to people around the world. He has managed portfolios of utility-scale renewable energy assets in multiple North American markets, representing hundreds of millions of dollars of profit and loss. In a previous life, he started his career as an officer in the United States Air Force, leading at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels across the active duty, National Guard, and reserve components. Nels is a husband and father, Carnegie New Leader, and is debating whether he should start studying for the C.F.A. level two exam. His undergraduate degree is in economics and international relations from the College of William & Mary, and he holds an M.A. in international relations from the University of Oklahoma, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Romeo Oghene is the executive assistant to the governor of Delta State in Lagos, Nigeria. A highly accomplished business manager and public servant with experience in business operations, development, and public relations. Oghene is adept at planning, strategizing, coordinating, and implementing, with a proven history of increasing customer retention and profitability while reducing cost and overhead. Previously, Oghene was the managing director and CEO of Odessa Marine LTD., a multimillion naira business where he managed daily operations and supervised staff. Prior to that position, Oghene was the senior special assistant to the former governor of Delta State. In that role, Oghene successfully developed and implemented strategies for the smooth running of state affairs, while also headlining multiple youth development initiatives that were crucial in deescalating youth conflict within the state. After three years in this role, Oghene was promoted to the role of executive assistant, where he used his business acumen and public administration experience to help manage and revamp African Timber and Plywood (AT&P), a state-owned multimillion naira company.
Xinran Qi is an experienced investment risk adviser and corporate investigator in the Washington, D.C. area. He has spent the past seven years providing deep-dive research for Fortune 500 companies, major institutional investors and international law firms to help them make strategic and tactical decisions with greater clarity and confidence. At his current firm, RosettiStarr LLC, a corporate intelligence and security consultancy, he has led numerous complex investigations worldwide involving opposition research, competitive intelligence and litigation support in a broad spectrum of industries including energy, real estate, IT, transportation, gaming and healthcare. Previously, Qi was a senior researcher at Kroll, a global risk consulting firm, where he performed risk assessment on high-profile transactions and IPOs for some of the world’s largest investment banks. A published author on energy, environment and global health, he has worked for an array of nonprofits and think tanks, including the Atlantic Council and the World Resources Institute. Qi graduated from Georgetown University’s M.S. in foreign service program and earned his B.A. in international relations with honors from China’s Sun Yat-sen University. He has also studied abroad in Korea. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cello playing and ballroom dancing.
Ibraheem Sanusi is the deputy head of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) Secretariat of the African Union (AU) responsible for the institutional development and strategic management of the operationalization process of the AGA. He also leads the citizen’s engagement portfolio of the AGA, which he helped develop. Through his leadership of the citizens’ engagement portfolio, the AU launched #DGTrends as a monitoring tool aimed at broadening African citizens' engagement and interaction with the AU Agenda 2063, and particularly its aspirations for democracy, peace, and prosperity. Sanusi’s experience spans the broad spectrum of democratic governance work in Africa. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an M.B.A. from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. He also has an executive master’s degree in managing peace and security in Africa from the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University. His functional skills are in designing and implementing development oriented programs, policy analysis, strategic planning, and budgeting for development activities. Sanusi is a lover of writing, music, and movies. He also enjoys photography, travelling, and social media as a powerful avenue for social engagement.
Lourdes Tiglao serves as the strategic partnerships officer for Team Rubicon Global, responsible for establishing relationships with the 50 most disaster-prone countries around the world. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in the medical field as part of the three-person USAF Critical Care Air Transport Team while also a member of the International Health Specialist Team, using medicine as an approach to crossing cultural barriers. Her career in aerospace medicine deployed her to multiple countries, including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and the Philippines until 2007. During those years, she assisted in launching the first Critical Care Medical Attendant Team in the Pacific for the U.S. Air Force, helped standardize the aeromedical evacuation protocol for Camp Lester Naval Hospital in Okinawa, and integrated naval personnel into the specialized three-person teams. After her honorable discharge, Tiglao joined Team Rubicon, deploying numerous times with the organization, including for Hurricane Sandy in New York and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. She has also been a staunch veteran advocate, speaking on various topics, ranging from Team Rubicon, non-profits, medicine, veteran reintegration, humanitarian response, and volunteer mobilization at several venues including the Philippine Embassy in D.C., the New York and San Francisco Philippine consulates, the State Department, universities, academic and scientific conferences, and as a guest speaker on an international television network. Ms. Tiglao has appeared on ABS-CBN News, The Loyolan, US News & World Report, Republic of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs, The Filipino Channel, GWToday, Stars and Stripes, Philippines News Central, CNN, The View, ChannelOne and others. She holds a B.S. in psychology from the University of Maryland University College, a certificate in graduate medical education from Georgetown University, and a World Executive M.B.A. degree from George Washington University.
Lani Tito is an export administration specialist with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS). Tito has worked for the federal government for over ten years, both in Washington D.C. and in California. In her current position, Tito manages and conducts BIS’ educational seminars and outreach events for the western region of the United States, including developing seminar content and material. At these seminars and outreach events, Ms. Tito educates attendees on how to comply with U.S. export regulations to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives. Attendees include representatives from domestic and international companies and organizations, foreign governments, and U.S. government agencies. In addition to these outreach activities, Tito has represented BIS at meetings with U.S. Government and foreign government counterparts. Tito also worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Ms. Tito served as a National Program Manager for HSI’s Trade Enforcement Unit, overseeing customs trade fraud cases. Tito received her B.S. in commerce and economics from Santa Clara University and her master’s in public policy from American University.
Paul Turner is a conflict prevention, mitigation, and response leader, focusing on countering violent extremism, with more than 20 years of field and policy experience promoting innovative approaches to local, national, and international conflicts. Turner brings expertise across the national security paradigm such as leading assessments, analyzing and mapping conflicts, developing strategies, designing projects, facilitating implementation, and evaluating impacts of efforts to prevent or mitigate conflict. Currently, he is serving as the technical director for countering violent extremism and senior peacebuilding advisor at Creative Associates International. Turner is adjunct faculty at American University’s Graduate School of International Service where he leads a course on countering violent extremism policy and practice, as well as at the University of Maryland, where he teaches conflict management. As a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, he designed interagency assessment and planning frameworks, developed civilian-military doctrine, and led integrated teams in stabilization initiatives on six continents. During his career, Turner has led teams to advance stability or promote peace in more than 30 countries as well as encouraged proactive conflict prevention and international development initiatives from Washington, D.C. supporting another 40 countries. Prior to working at the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Turner worked with Chemonics International managing conflict transformation, governance, and natural resource related development initiatives in Africa, Europe, and Eurasia. In South Africa, he designed an award-winning organization in the conflict-ridden townships and shantytowns striving to overcome the legacy of apartheid. Turner is most intrigued by the nexus of conservation, peacebuilding, and stabilization. His other interests range from playing sports to outdoor activities, and reading to community service.